Failures and Triumphs for All

Some days I am just SO THANKFUL to find an inch of tea left in my travel mug.

I’m not sure if I can play the “I’m so busy!” card because I’m really not THAT busy, just stuck in a body that tends to crash into a fatigue puddle after 2:00 pm. Which is, unfortunately, the precise time of my weekly computer science lab.

My lab is located in a random building on the sciencey side of campus, deep in the basement labyrinth. Last week, my first computer science lab ever, I rushed around frantically trying to find it, eventually walking in about seven minutes late.

A GTF in an ill-fitting polo shirt stood in front of a projector screen, pointing to the code displayed and saying “infrastructure gibberish Ruby script gobbledegook.”

I sat down next to a blond guy, and tried to peek over his shoulder to see what he was doing.

“Do you need help?” he asked.


“Okay, well the first thing you need to do is download Cyberduck. There’s a link right there.”

And so, not having a clue what this Cyberduck business was, I followed the link and clicked the big blue “download” button.

Things began downloading. Then, big red McAfee warnings began popping up, and wouldn’t go away.

(And to all you computer savvy people who are just BURSTING to tell  me that McAfee isn’t a good system and there’s better open source antivirus software out there and I need to install Adblock etc etc etc, CALM DOWN! I eventually figured that all out, now pay attention to the story.)

“So, um, what do I do now?” I asked blond guy.

He took my computer and tried to make the bouncing red McAfee boxes go away. “Um, I don’t know…uh…” he looked towards the back of the room, where a man with a mohawk sat on a chair and watched us. “Um, can you help her out?”

Apparently mohawk man was another GTF. He came over. “Yeah,” he said, “It looks like you have a bunch of viruses on your computer.”

Tears started dribbling down my face. Oh great. That’s another thing that happens after 2:00 pm…I cry a lot easier and over dumber stuff. I reached in my pocket, found a piece of brown paper towel from a public restroom, and dabbed my eyes.

I tried to sort-of work on the project, but I had no idea what was going on.

“Are you okay?” asked blond guy.

“I’m really okay, I just cry easily when I get tired,” I managed to blubber out. I don’t think I sounded very convincing. “I’m sorry if it makes you uncomfortable.”

“That’s okay,” said blond guy, awkwardly patting my arm.

The lab project was to set up an infrastructure (whatever that meant) so that we would be able to submit our future project to the server (whatever that was). Mohawk guy basically did the whole thing for me in a couple minutes, stalwartly ignoring the McAfee alerts. Yay! The world was saved.

My little paper towel was a sopping mass of uselessness.

This week, as I chugged my two inches of tea before lab, I tried to figure out how to trick myself out of crying. It had already been a long hard day, and now, this.

With my tummy full of tea, my backpack full of clean, virus-free computer, and my pocket full of Kleenexes, I headed down into the mysterious subterranean passages to my lab.

It went as smoothly as butter on a baby’s bottom. I guess I’ve picked up something in the last two weeks of classes.

Hopefully things will continue to go well, but for now I’m still planning to pack extra tea and Kleenexes.

4 responses to “Failures and Triumphs for All

  1. I loved this post! Please keep posting!


  2. yay for keeping at it when you know how hard it will be.
    I started a support cohort last Thursday night and cried when I tried to share and it wasn’t THAT emotional. glad to know there are others who cry so easily. I’m a substitute teacher so I SHOULD be used to speaking in front of groups of strangers!
    Thanks for sharing. I’ve missed reading you!


  3. Theda Heinzkill

    Emily, you and your Mom would love the wordplay in the routines of ’50’s comedian Shelly Berman. He pondered the plurals of “stewardess” and Kleenex,” as possibly “stewardi” and “Kleeneces.” (We had to have studied at least Latin I in order to appreciate certain comic routines!)


  4. Pingback: My Top 10 Moments of the Decade | The Girl in the Red Rubber Boots

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